Ice fishing is a rewarding way to enjoy your favorite outdoor activity. Understanding the basics of ice fishing helps you prepare and immerse yourself in the experience. Here are four areas to consider when planning an ice fishing excursion.

Ice Fishing Gear and Equipment

You will need specialized gear and equipment for ice fishing. This includes a sled for hauling gear, an auger for drilling into the ice, food, and any electronics that help you locate fish. Ice fishing gear is slightly adapted for the environment, so expect to have ice fishing specific poles, fishing line, lures, and reels on hand.

Cold Weather Gear

In any type of cold weather environment, staying warm is essential to avoid hypothermia, and with ice fishing, cold-weather clothing ensures that you enjoy the experience. The basics should include a warm jacket, gloves, hat, and appropriate footwear for walking across the ice. You should dress in layers, because the temperature may rise during the middle part of the day, and you can remove or add layers as needed.


The  lures used for ice fishing are of the jigging variety. You will not have the same benefits as fishing in open water. Look for lures that are designed for ice fishing, as well as the specific species that are known to be in the lake or pond. Expect to spend some time practicing with your lures the first few times that you go ice fishing. Even the most experienced anglers will have a learning curve.


Safety is paramount with any type of outdoor activity, and ice fishing is no exception. You are spending hours in cold weather and sitting on a frozen body of water. Accidents and injuries can happen. Always ice fish with at least one other person, and have some type of reliable communication. Cell phone service can be unreliable in some areas, so a satellite phone is your best option. Eight inches of ice will give you enough support to travel across in an ATV or snowmobile, but you need at least one foot of ice to drive across in a larger vehicle.


Being familiar with the best fishing spots in your area increases the chances of being successful with ice fishing. Fish finders and other electronics can help you pinpoint where the fish are located under the ice. You may need to drill several test holes in the ice to see if you attract any attention with your lures.